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Published on June 23, 2024
ORNL's Bill Partridge Honored with DOE's Distinguished Achievement Award for Pioneering Transportation ResearchSource: Oak Ridge Laboratory Website

In a notable acknowledgement of a career spanning two and a half decades dedicated to transportation research, Bill Partridge, a former researcher at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), was honored with the Department of Energy Vehicle Technologies Office Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Award. The award was presented on June 3, 2024, at the VTO Annual Merit Review in Washington, D.C., recognizing Partridge's pivotal role in pioneering advanced diagnostic tools that revolutionized the development of next-generation engines and emissions control systems.

Partridge's commendation was spurred by a nomination from the VTO Decarbonization of Offroad, Rail, Marine, and Aviation research team, acknowledging his influence and foresight in transportation tool development. Robert Wagner, ORNL's associated laboratory director for the Energy Science and Technology Directorate, valued Partridge's contributions, stating, "Bill Partridge’s leadership has guided the development of some of the most impactful transportation tools widely used today." Partridge's guidance, as reported by ORNL, has been instrumental in assisting the industry to meet stringent U.S. emissions guidelines and improving freight-engine efficiency standards.

Throughout his tenure at ORNL, Partridge led VTO-funded projects that yielded innovative technologies. His work on Spatially-resolved Capillary Inlet Mass Spectrometry (SpaciMS) played a transformative role in emissions control catalyst research, earning the 2008 R&D 100 Award. He also innovated a laser-induced fluorescence fuel-in-oil diagnostic technique, which snagged another R&D 100 Award and a 2011 Federal Laboratory Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer Award. A significant aspect of his career was the development of a fiber optic exhaust gas recirculation probe that contributed to various engine development endeavors, including the Cummins SuperTruck project.

The collaboration between Partridge and Cummins, through a cooperative research and development agreement, or CRADA, manifested as one of DOE’s longest and most fruitful industry partnerships, acknowledged in 2022. It yielded 36 journal publications, fostered international dialogue with 25 keynote lectures, and, it demonstrated Partridge's commitment to cross-sector collaboration. Beyond the accolades and technological breakthroughs, Partridge made an indelible mark by mentoring early-career researchers, nurturing a new generation of experts within the vehicle technology field.

True to his philosophy of continuous innovation and fostering expertise, Partridge’s career leaves behind a legacy that can be measured not only in industry advancements but also in the sustained development of talent. His retirement marks the end of an era, yet, his contributions continue to propel the transportation sector forward towards a more efficient and environmentally conscious future.